HOW TO LEAVE AN ABUSIVE PARENT: the ups and downs of it all
You are in your room; the lights are out both in your room and in your heart because you just went through another episode of abuse from your abusive parent (father or mother or both of them).
You are all cried out because this is the millionth time you are going through this… the only difference between this time and the other 999,999 times is that this time you have realized that the only way for you to survive is to get out.
You know that if you don’t get out, two things will happen… you will either go insane or loose your life (either your parents’ abusive ways kill you or you kill yourself). But every time you think of getting out, your heart starts racing, your eyes get teary and you feel an overwhelming feeling of anxiety that makes you abandon the idea of leaving all together; even though you know that this is the only solution to your situation.
You pray and wish that your parent(s) change but you’ve prayed this prayer all your life and it feels like the god you prayed to is dead. You tell yourself that they do this (abuse you) only because they love you and want the best for you. But deep down, you know that this is not love. Love shouldn’t be this painful, love shouldn’t make you feel like a piece of rag abandoned by animals in the gutter; love should feel better than this.
You know this because your soul is crying for something less painful, something more peaceful… something that doesn’t make your heart bleed every second of everyday.
Maybe you have the money to leave but your will is weak or you have the will to go but you have no money. In truth you need a good portion of both to make this change but those who have only will and no money have been able to make the change regardless of the financial difficulty they were going to face in the world.
There are many types of emotions that hunt an abused child/person who has left the phase of denial and is ready for a positive change. First comes the sorrow that follows the realization that your parents don’t love you, then the projection of their behaviour on yourself by thinking that the reason why they don’t love you is because you are unlovable. Then the guilt of wanting to move away from them.
“How can my parents not love me?” “it’s impossible, they are supposed to love me because they are my parents” “all parents are supposed to love their children”. Indeed, all parents are supposed to love their children but not all parents love their children. If all parents love their children, there would be no abandoned new born babies in the waste bin and you wouldn’t hear of people who hurt their children in the news.
Before I continue, you need to know this. Your abusive parent(s) don’t love you… not because you are unlovable but because they are not capable of love. You can’t give what you don’t have, your parent(s) can’t give you love because they don’t have love to give you; they don’t even have love to give themselves. This is an issue with them and not you. I repeat, this is an issue with them and not you.
When you have the will to leave your abusive parent(s) but you don’t have the money.
You need money to start life on your own as an independent person. Depending on the type of abuse you are going through, the farther away you move from your parent(s); the better your life will be. Some of you need to move to another city just to hide away from them because they are probably capable of finding you and forcing you back home.
So, how do you get the money? You need a job. This is not the time to be picky about the kind of job you do; as long as it is legal… do it and save up so that you can get the hell out of there. And if you already have a job, you must start saving; no matter how small you can afford to save (even if it’s a dollar a day) something is better than nothing.
Some of you may be in a position where your life is controlled to the point that you are not allowed to work; then this book is for you “Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill” it will help your mentality on money. Since you have the will to leave, sixty percent of your problem is solved because if you have the will to leave then you have the will to make money in order to take care of yourself.
I wouldn’t advise you to leave when you have nothing because at this point you are emotionally fragile because of the abuse you have experienced and financial instability has a way of bringing both mental and emotional stress thereby causing more problems. You don’t need to make money to last you for the rest of your life before you leave. But you need enough to carry you for at least six months to a year of being on your own.
When you have the money to leave your abusive parent(s) but no will
Don’t beat yourself up because you are lacking the will to leave a bad situation… the last thing you want to do is to be mean to yourself; others (your parents) have been mean enough to you, don’t join them. Most of the time, the number one thing that shuts down our will to leave is FEAR.
Fear of the unknown “how will I survive on my own”. Fear of what people will say “will they think I am a bad person for moving away from my parents’ and cutting contact with them?”. Fear of other family members and the possibility of disappointing them.
The second thing that affects our will to leave a negative situation is GUILT. Most people feel guilty because they sometimes feel like them saving themselves from that situation means that they are abandoning their family. This is not so… your parent(s) abandoned you years ago when they kept abusing you repeatedly. To not leave the situation means that you have chosen to abandon yourself as well.
The third thing that affects the will to leave abusive parent(s) is our siblings. For people who are an only child or the last child in the nest; it is easier for them to plan their exit and go. But this is a different case for those with younger siblings, who look up to them. How do you leave your younger ones behind in the same situation that you are trying to escape?
There’s not much you can do. If they are still minors, then you can’t take them with you (only when you leave and are able to take your parents to court and gain custody of them). If they are of legal age (18 and above) then the choice is up to them; if they want to leave fine but if they don’t … it is also their choice and that should not stop you from saving yourself.
You have your life to live and so do they, when it is time for your siblings to take a step to change their lives; they will do it in their own time but there is nothing you can do at this point.
Often, when an older sibling does something… it usually inspires the other siblings to follow suite.
There is nothing I can tell you right now that will make the fear or guilt you are feeling go away but I will say this… Do what you are afraid to do and the fear will flee. The courage or bravery to do something doesn’t mean that there is absence of fear; it only means that the action is taken even with the presence of fear.
Never let fear stop you from making a decision and never let fear push you into making a decision because any decision made based on fear is always the wrong one. Read this book “Supreme Mastery of Fear by Joseph Murphy” it will help you with issues on fear.
When you have finally left your abusive parent(s).
The first few weeks or months of you leaving your abusive parent(s) will feel liberating but you are not completely out of the water; because this is when your soul will begin to purge all the repressed feelings and memories of the abuse that you have endured through the years.
Some people feel immerse anger, resentment, sadness, loneliness and even night terrors during this period; you will remember more things that happened to you and some of your memories will even surprise you. You may find yourself thinking “wow, did I also go through this or that?”.
This phase is normal but it is not okay to just go through it without working on your healing. One of the best ways to start working on healing and forgiveness is to see a therapist but be careful of the kind of therapist you go to. Don’t just pick any therapist especially because they are cheap, this is your mental health we are talking about so you need a very good therapist.
If you cannot afford a therapist, there are other ways to work on yourself and on your healing. Some people will say that you should find someone to talk to which is also very good but you must be careful who you talk to about a situation like this. Unless you have someone who genuinely cares for you and understands what you have been through then it is best to not talk to anyone.
The only thing worse than not having someone to share your troubles with is talking to the wrong people, people who will judge you or condemn you or even gaslight you in your situation.
If you talk to the wrong person about your situation, you may hear things like this from them “I’m sure it wasn’t that bad” “c’mon they are your parents, they still love you” “you only have one father or mother” “that’s their own way of loving you. You should be grateful for their love”. This is called gas lighting and it will make you feel even worse.
If you don’t have a trusted person to talk to then I recommend this program “The 180 Days Self-Care Program” it will help you a great deal with healing and letting go of the hurt you have gone through.
Journaling is a great start, a book/a piece of paper will not judge you. It doesn’t matter what you write in it… if you feel it, write it, put it all down… release it from your body into that piece of paper and tear it up. If the feelings come back again, do the process again. You have to be patient with yourself because you have been through a lot. This is not an overnight process.
Another way to work on your healing is to start reading, get all the information you need; we are lucky to be living in the age of information where it isn’t so difficult to learn something. Start learning about yourself and everything you have been through and need to do to heal. Read this post on healing and forgiveness.
No matter what you do and learn, you won’t fully move forward in life if you don’t forgive your parent(s) for the things that they did to you. And no, forgiveness does not mean that you start talking to them again or bring them into your life; that is not what forgiveness means. Forgiveness means that you get to the point where you feel no anger or resentment when you think of them or the things that they did to you. Forgiveness is for you, not for them.
Your parent(s) will never change and it is okay to miss them, you may even find out that you miss some of the cruel things they did to you; this is part of the trauma bond you have with them. As you heal, your sense of what love is will develop and you will stop have those feelings.
If your plan is to leave for a period of time just so that they miss you and change then it is better you do not leave at all. Like I said before, your parents will never change. There is a reason on and off relationships never work and it is because the reason(s) a relationship ends will always remain no matter the amount of time the partners spend apart.
You can never change someone for you… they may change but not for your sake and not in the way that you want them to change. The only person you can change is you, so whether you are still in an abusive situation or you have left; start working on yourself and never stop working on yourself.